Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is one of the leading causes of severe vision loss and blindness in the adult population, with more than 1.6 million existing cases and approximately 200,000 new cases each year in the U.S. Macular degeneration is an eye disorder that damages the center of the retina, which is called the macula, making it difficult to see fine details. Macular degeneration is caused by the abnormal growth of blood vessels under the retina resulting in damage to the macula. The loss of a functioning macula leaves only peripheral vision with which to see objects.
Dr. Eugene Levin is developing a small protein therapeutic for treatment of the wet form of AMD as well as diabetic retinopathy. The mode of action of the therapeutic agent is the inhibition of cell migration and it is a potent inhibitor of blood vessel formation (angiogenesis). Using various animal models of angiogenesis, including tumor, corneal, and retinal models, the therapeutic has been shown to inhibit new blood vessel growth by as much as 90% and promises to offer a novel approach for the treatment of this debilitating disease.